According to the ninth century Neoplatonist philosopher John Scotus Eriugena (not to be confused with the Franciscan John Duns Scotus), when God fashions a creature he also creates himself. To be, so the thinking goes, is to be a particular entity. Since God is not a particular entity, God is beyond being (thus Terry Eagleton speaks of “the black lightning of God’s love which is more real than reality itself”). But God is the source of all being, and so when he forms a creature and breathes life into it, he invests it with something of himself. Therefore, in creating that creature he also brings himself into being. In the act of creation, God gives birth to himself.